The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 9, 2013

Laurels and barbs

The Tribune-Democrat

— Barb: We’ve heard from plenty of people upset about a grocery store chain pulling the plug on some of its perks, but we’ve yet to hear anyone complain about the issue that Giant Eagle says is the cause for the decision. The chain, which has more than a half-dozen stores in Cambria and Somerset counties, said this week that it was discontinuing its popular Foodperks program because it was too complicated for many customers. Giant Eagle has every right to change its pricing and policies, but it doesn’t need to insult the intelligence of its customers while doing so.

Laurel: Some of the nation’s best snowboarders and freestyle skiers were in our region  recently. Seven Springs Mountain Resort hosted a qualifying round of the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships for the first time last weekend. Then, the U.S. Revolution Tour, which is focused toward riders 13-19, stopped at the resort for a four-day event for skiers and snowboarders. We’re fortunate to have such wonderful winter facilities in our own backyard.

Laurel: Letting constituents know how lawmakers are spending our money seems like a no-brainer but, as we’ve learned, there is no such thing in politics. So we applaud those state politicians who have decided to post their office expenses on their respective websites. Transparency in politics – what a concept!

Laurel: We’ve lauded the Johnstown Tomahawks a number of times already in their first season, but the junior hockey club continues to impress us. The Tomahawks are teaming up with the Johnstown Police Department’s K-9 Corps for a “Pucks & Paws” night a week from today. The event, which allows hockey fans to bring their dogs to the rink, is more than a promotional gimmick. The $5 fee that fans will be charged for their pooches will go to the K-9 Corps, which Sgt. Michael Plunkard said is dependent upon community donations.

Laurel: It’s nice to know that citizens can still make their voices heard. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation showed this week that it understood some of the complaints coming from residents and business owners along Goucher Street. Rather than push forward with an unpopular project, PennDOT agreed to tweak its plans for how to make the busy roadway safer. We’re sure that not everyone will be happy with the scaled- down project, but it’s evident that PennDOT has tried to work with the community on the issue.

Barb: Veterans Affairs hospitals are supposed to provide quality care for the men and women who served this nation proudly. Sadly, a report released on Wednesday says that a lab in Pittsburgh didn’t immediately report positive test results for Legionnaires disease in an outbreak that killed five patients. What a tragedy. Our veterans deserve better.

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